Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pork, The Other White Flag

Not even the French know how to quit with such indignity.

Jim Lileks, one of my favorite writers, has a fine column today that lays bare the Democrats' disgusting strategy for surrender.

Congress wants the troops to have sufficient bullets to cover their retreat. What's really getting all the attention, besides the requirement that the U.S. quit the field by 2008, are the payouts given to various members of Congress who wanted their palms greased before they voted YES to supply the troops. Let's examine some of the delights contained in the bill's rich nougat center.

— $5 million to compensate tropical fish breeders for losses suffered when a virus took out their stock. You can't really argue with this, since the Supreme Court long ago struck down the supposed ``wall of separation'' between Tank and State. It's an obvious national priority, lest we find ourselves beholden to foreign fish cartels. There was even talk of creating a Strategic Clownfish Reserve, but experts agreed that Congress already performed that role admirably.

— $25 million to the spinach growers who lost money during the contamination brouhaha. If you were one of the unlucky people who ate the bad spinach, and missed work because you were up brouhahaing all night, you get no recompense.

— $13 million for Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention. An unexpected side effect of the Pterodactyl Reintroduction Act of 2005 meant that huge, leather-winged reptiles were carrying off portions of the nation's flock; this provision compensates herders. In a nod to fiscal responsibility, however, a rider that set up an Internet video monitoring system for sheep flocks called ``Ewe Tube'' was struck from the bill.

— $400 million for "wildland fire suppression.'' Just have the fires speak out against the war; if you believe Sean Penn and Rosie O'Donnell, administration officials will suppress the fires with just a few words of criticism.

— $74 million for peanut storage. Sources on the Hill note this is a victory for freshman Rep. Planters, D-Licious, a colorful character who wears a monocle and top hat.

— $525,000 for the National Park System to beef up its avian flu detection efforts. Which means that the national Ewe Crisis is 26 times more important than avian flu detection? No. Another provision spends almost a billion dollars for flu pandemic preparation. But you know how things are today — trying to spend that much money to combat a dread disease is a hard sell, and you have to hide the appropriation in a bigger bill and hope no one finds out.

— $5 billion for education. Possibly more; the bill is 87 pages long. But ammunition procurement for the Air Force is $95.8 million, which might mean arrival of the long-awaited day, predicted on many a thoughtful bumper sticker, when the Air Force has to hold a bake sale. That will prompt Bill Maher to assert that Girl Scouts are braver than pilots, because the Scouts deliver cookies in person and the Air Force drops the boxes from 30,000 feet. Still, it makes sense; while education is an obvious federal obligation, there is nothing in the Constitution about an Air Force, and if the Founders had intended to spend money on "sky militias'' they would have mentioned a "Balloon'd Musketry Corps'' in the Federalist Papers.

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